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Column: Eli Manning on way to NFL greatness

Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants.

Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants. (Getty Images) Credit: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants. (Getty Images)

The Giants' running game is in shambles, injuries have hampered the offensive line and two of Eli Manning's favorite targets bolted in free agency before the season. Yet Manning has almost singlehandedly guided the Giants (6-2) to first place in the NFC East with fourth-quarter comebacks in each of the team's past five wins.

• The Giants trailed Philadelphia 16-14 in the final quarter on Sept. 25 when Manning hit Victor Cruz for a 28-yard touchdown. His fourth TD pass of the day for a 29-16 victory.

• On Oct. 2, the host Cardinals led Big Blue 27-17 in the fourth. Manning sparked two touchdown drives in the final six minutes for a 31-27 win.

• Against surging Buffalo on Oct. 16, Manning's 76-yard drive set up a field goal with 1:37 remaining for a 27-24 triumph.

• Hapless Miami held a late 17-10 lead over the Giants on Oct. 30, but Manning's scoring drives of 78 and 53 yards sealed a face-saving 20-17 victory.

• Recalling the Giants' comeback victory against New England in Super Bowl XLII, Manning hit Jake Ballard for a 1-yard touchdown with 15 seconds left during Sunday's 24-20 win over the Patriots.

When Manning arrived in New York in 2004, he was overshadowed not only by his older brother, Peyton, but also by dominant Giants personalities such as Tiki Barber, Michael Strahan and Amani Toomer. In spite of the slow start to his career and the see-sawing support of Giants fans, Manning has focused on winning - and in the process, he is on his way to becoming one of the game's great quarterbacks.

Joe Garner, with Bob Costas, is co-author of “100 Yards of Glory” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a book and companion video documentary that chronicles the greatest moments in NFL history.

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